The Siege of Przemysl

A Sketch from a British War-Correspondant

'Russians and Austrians in the Same Café in Przemysl'
'A sketch made in the only café still open when the Russians entered Przemysl'


Here we have a rather unusual sketch which was published in the French newsmagazine 'Le Miroir', issue no. 82 of June 20th 1915. It depicts a scene in the only café still open for business in Przemysl at the time of the Austrian surrender of the fortress city in March 1915. Apparently as the Russian forces were entering the city and taking care of the vanquished troops, Austrian officers gave their parole to accept surrender and not attempt escape. In return they were allowed their freedom in the city for an amount of time.

British war-correspondant and illustrator, H.C. Seppings-Wright accompanying the Russian armies besieging Przemysl, made this sketch as he was having a cup of tea with Russian officers. So to see, there were no hard feelings between victors and vanquished and the café was doing a brisk business with Russian and Austrian customers, even during those eventful times.

Seppings-Wright was also present at the siege of Antwerp and made several sketches of the bombardment which were later turned into finished illustrations by other artists presumably working in more tranquil conditions at the home office in London. (See : sketch of the siege of Antwerp / More sketches of the Siege of Antwerp)

This sketch in Prezmysl was apparently intended to form the outline of a full-sized magazine illustration and contains many notes and observations. It would seem that the sketch was never finished into a professionally executed magazine illustration. Somewhat unusally the artist illustrated himself.


Mr. H.C. Seppings-Wright (1850-1937)

See also : sketch of the siege of Antwerp / More sketches of the Siege of Antwerp
sketches of the Siege of Przemysl

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